What's Up With MIBR?
Things haven't been easy for MIBR in recently, especially in 2020. What does MIBR need to do moving forward?
Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo is often referred to as the Godfather of Brazilian Counter-Strike. Having played all-three iterations of the game professionally, FalleN helped put his country on the map and alongside two of his current teammates, Fernando "fer" Alvarenga and Epitácio "TACO" de Melo, he lifted two Major trophies. Joining the iconic trio is PGL Major Kraków finalist Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe and Alencar "trk" Rossato, who had previously been plying his trade for Team One. While, on paper, this team seems very solid, FalleN and co. are far from the glory days of SK Gaming, when grand finals were a given for them.
It's been hard recently
The squad has seemingly struggled to find its identity in the past few years, often replacing their fifth player in the hopes of getting back into their old form. Since Marcelo "coldzera" David's departure for FaZe Clan in September 2019, MIBR has played with Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles, Ignacio "meyern" Meyer, and João "felps" Vasconcellos before recently settling on trk as the fifth.
While MIBR hasn't slipped outside of the top 30, with the lowest placement being #26 in March of this year, FURIA Esports has been widely regarded as the best Brazilian team this year. There were even reports that MIBR tried acquiring the services of Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato in late 2018, but the offer was turned down, and the youngster eventually signed a five-year contract with FURIA. While FURIA certainly wasn't a bad team at the time, their playstyle was regarded as rather one-dimensional, and the team wasn't as solid as it is now. Still, KSCERATO had faith in the project, but it's rather curious that anyone would turn down the opportunity to play with FalleN.
Playing in Europe
MIBR's most promising result in recent times was at the BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 American Finals, where the team placed second following an 0-2 loss to Evil Geniuses. MIBR is currently bootcamping in Europe as the squad attended the EU iteration ESL One: Cologne 2020 Online. Sadly, the squad's trip abroad hasn't been going very well, as MIBR got knocked out of Cologne in 13th-16th place following losses to G2 Esports and FaZe.
Out of the 33 maps that the Brazilians have played in Europe so far, they have only won 12, suffering losses to teams of a much lower caliber. There shouldn't be a world where a team like MIBR loses to Wisla Krakow, Galaxy Racers, PACT, and Copenhagen Flames, yet here we are.
In all fairness, Europe is obviously the most dominant region in Counter-Strike. There's undoubtedly a massive shift in playstyles compared to what MIBR was facing in NA, so it's understandable that it might take the team a while to adapt. That said, things still don't look great for them moving forward. MIBR hasn't looked dominant in NA, EU certainly isn't much better at the moment, and with how things have gone this year, it leaves many to wonder what options are left for the squad.
What to do?
While roster changes should almost always be the final option, MIBR may be coming to a point where a considerable roster overhaul is required. To avoid a similar situation to the "curse of the fifth ninja" that plagued Ninjas in Pyjamas for the longest time, MIBR needs to consider breaking the squad's core. The problem is, what roster changes can realistically be made right now?
At this point, it has become rather apparent that either FalleN, fer, or TACO needs to step down from the active lineup. This isn't to say that kNgV- or trk are safe but more so that a shakeup in the team's culture might be required for substantial changes moving forward. TACO is a great support player, but he had already left the squad in 2018 when he played for Team Liquid. FalleN would be very hard to replace, even though he's no longer the primary AWPer for the team, no one in Brazil has as much experience as he does. Unless you could acquire Andrei "arT" Piovezan, it's hard to make a case for FalleN's removal, even though changing in-game leader would certainly shake things up in the squad. FalleN and fer have been teamed up since 2014, so replacing the latter could consequently have substantial effects. Regardless of who leaves the roster, though, your options in terms of pick-ups are also minimal.
Furiously high buyouts
FURIA's players are all locked behind massive buyouts that MIBR was unwilling to pay in the past. It's not as though the Immortals Gaming Club, which owns MIBR, doesn't have the financial resources to buy out KSCERATO and co., but why would anyone on FURIA essentially downgrade by joining MIBR? They've turned down the offer in the past when they weren't as successful as they are now, so if anything, it's even more unlikely to happen now.
Outside of FURIA, the options for Brazilian players are quite limited. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing in someone who currently resides in Brazil is considerably more challenging, so you narrow down your options to Brazilian players living in the United States or Canada.
Maybe not the one
Team One, which trk was already signed from, doesn't have any pre-established world-class players, and their performances have been considerably inconsistent this year. Bruno "b4rtiN" Câmara is poised to becoming a solid rifler in the future but is still very young. Mario "malbsMd" Samayoa has attended a few large events, but Portuguese isn't his first language as he's Guatemalan.
Yeah... Not quite...
Yeah Gaming was in a similar situation lately as the team was unable to find a Brazilian fifth following Victor "iDk" Torraca's decision to go home to Brazil. The team decided to pick up Michael "Swisher" Schmid, and the American will be learning Portuguese in order to limit communication issues. Eduardo "dumau" Wolkmer is a phenomenal prodigy, but given the recent struggles to fill the roster, it's unlikely that Yeah parts ways with any more of its players unless a trade was involved.
WELCOME @swishcs 🤟🔥— Yeah Gaming (@YeahGaming) September 9, 2020
Hoje o americaninho Swisher entra para a Yeah para ser o nosso 5º player da lineup de CS:GO.
E o nosso redator @celobechara já fez uma breve entrevista com ele, segue o link da mesma logo abaixo:
👉 https://t.co/hsN6yYADnb pic.twitter.com/feVVGw0kkd
Things are getting painful now...
After announcing the intention to move its squad to Canada, paiN Gaming has only just announced that its roster has completed the move, which exemplifies just how complicated such a procedure is right now. Consequently, the chances are low that paiN parts ways with anyone on the roster unless, again, a player swap was on offer.
Definitely made in Brazil
Going international would not only be ironic given the name "Made in Brazil," but has already been attempted in the past. Jake "Stewie2K" Yip and Tarik "tarik" Celik were part of the MIBR squad that won ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018, the last trophy FalleN has lifted. That said, the project failed in the long-run. When MIBR tried picking up someone more local in the form of the Argentinian youngster meyern, the squad often cited communication issues as the reason they weren't performing.
Just when things couldn't get worse
To add insult to injury, the team's manager and stand-in coach, Ricardo "dead" Sinigaglia, was recently suspended by the organization, as it came to light that he had abused the coaching bug in cs_summit 6 Online. MIBR has consequently lost all of its RMR points following a statement made by Valve. The team will need to perform well in the upcoming IEM New York Online, as it is crucial to gain back as many points as possible if the players want to attend the first major to (eventually) be held in Brazil.
At the end of the day, the community should still have immense respect for FalleN, fer, and TACO. The trio accomplished amazing things, won many tournaments, and paved the way for the rest of the Brazilian scene. It's fantastic that fans are still supporting their favorite team, even when the performances aren't there. All three of the players have built amazing legacies and still have bright futures ahead of them if so desired. That said, it's unlikely that MIBR, as an organization, won't consider making drastic changes in the not-so-distant future.